Stars on Stage: Eileen Darby & Broadway's Golden Age: Photographs 1940–1964

Mary C. Henderson, Author, Eileen Darby, Author, Eileen Darby, Photographer , intro. by John Lahr. Bulfinch $40 (208p) ISBN 978-0-8212-2897-5

This treasure chest of 255 classic b&w theater photographs features Ethel Merman in Annie Get Your Gun and Call Me Madam , Zero Mostel in Fiddler on the Roof , Audrey Hepburn in Gigi , Julie Harris and Ethel Waters in Member of the Wedding , John Raitt in Carousel , Ruth Gordon in The Matchmaker and Carol Channing in its musical version, Hello, Dolly! There are too many shows and show people to list, but this handsome package also provides an index, a selected portfolio of shows covered (to read it is to appreciate that Darby was chronicling an important part of American history), a stunning collection of portraits, some wonderful unposed, backstage shots and photos of writers and directors. New Yorker critic Lahr provides a celebratory introduction, but more interesting is theater historian Henderson's brief biography of Darby, who came to New York from Oregon in 1939 and conquered Broadway with her Leica. A few shots of her, slim and boyish in the tailored pant suits she worked in, turn up, as does a Christmas card by her longtime friend Al Hirschfeld, showing her popping out of Santa's bag (she died last year at 87). But the stars take center stage, still dazzling after all these years. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/23/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
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